What do these people have in common: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, comedian and actor Steve Martin and former Attorney General Janet Reno?
None of these highly successful people ended up pursuing a career relative to their college major. Reno was a chemistry major, Greenspan studied music and Martin earned a degree in philosophy.
How can you expect to map your entire life with a college major when, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average person changes careers three times?
And, in search of the perfect course of study, 75 percent of students change majors at least once during their college years, according to Randy Miller, chairman of student counseling Web site Readyminds.
Don't worry. The biggest secret in career development is that you can get a job with any major, according to Donald Asher, career consultant and author of "How To Get Any Job With Any Major" (Ten Speed Press). Asher says that even though all majors may not supply equal preparation for all jobs, no job is out of reach simply because of your major.
You have more options than you think. Many students have tunnel vision when it comes to choosing their major - they pick their major on the assumption it's the only fast track to their lucrative dream job. Problem is, they might hate that major, do badly in it and subsequently rule out a career they might have been great at.
Employers do look at your major when considering your application, mainly because your major helps the employer determine the skills you'd bring to the organization. But other factors, especially your relevant experience, play a big role.
In fact, Asher adds, the top 10 characteristics corporate recruiters look for can be found in students of any major. They include:
-Strong work ethic
Additionally, post-baccalaureate studies provide specialization and internships provide work experience. These can define your road more significantly than undergraduate studies.
Here are some examples of real people who found success outside of their college majors:
Carly Fiorina, chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company, received a degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford.
James Gandolfini, Emmy award-winning actor, majored in communications at Rutgers.
Richard Gephardt, politician and former Presidential hopeful, earned a degree in speech from Northwestern University.
Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, majored in philosophy at the University of Illinois.
Lee Iacocca, former head of Chrysler Motor Company, studied history at Lehigh University.
Mick Jagger, lead singer for the Rolling Stones, majored in economics at the London School of Economics.
Ashton Kutcher, actor, majored in biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa.
Sherry Lansing, chairman of Paramount Motion Picture Group, earned her bachelor's degree in English from Northwestern University.
Lucy Liu, actress, studied Asian Languages at the University of Michigan.
Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice, majored in economics at Stanford.
Brad Pitt, actor and heartthrob, was two credits shy of a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California and actor, studied economics at the University of Wisconsin.
Denzel Washington, Oscar-winning actor, has a degree in journalism from Fordham University.
Employer: What was your major?
Employer: We're hiring nuclear physicists, you know.
You: Well, I know nuts about it, but I'm very interested and I have great interpersonal skills, not to mention strong work ethics.
Employer: Well, even though a wrong call on your part could blow all of us, not to mention this city, to kingdom come, and you know absolutely nothing in relation to your job scope, I'm going to give you a shot, because I get the feeling that you can really contribute to the team.
You: Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!
Employer: What the fuck? I was just yanking your chain, you raving lunatic. Get the fuck out of my office before I have you committed. You might as well apply for a position as a neurosurgeon.
You: Hey, you guys have that too? I've always been interested in the human brain!